Fantasy novels can leave you hating life, why can’t you ride a white horse along with some imaginary (New Zealand) plain, heading to battle evil orks?
After we’ve read them the novels offer many useful functions. They can hold doors open, keep papers from blowing off your desk on windy days, or you can even use them as bookends. For a lot of fantasy readers, we’re sick of the clique nonsense. The Amazonian female lead or the man with a murdered family on the ruse for vengeance. Give us something different, something delicious and truly epic.
The fantasy genre has always been good at attracting authors that understand that without great characters, no matter how well plotted the story, the book will disengage the reader. This could be for any number of reasons. But the main one that I enjoy theorising most on a Friday night sat with friends at the pub, is that they’re simply used to it. Take the computer games from the genre, you have to build your character to the most minuscule detail. It’s the ultimate escapism and add a portion of D&D to the mix, and you’ve got an author that will have you pruning over your characters for months, long after they’ve finished reading the book praying that Hollywood picks it up.
Sins of Empire is the action packed start to a new saga by celebrated author Brian McClellan. The nation of Fatrasta is a haven for criminals. Rebels, adventurers and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. As insurrection grows, only the iron will of Lady Chancellor holds the capital city of landfall together. Yet an ancient power as old as time is rising, and the fate of this young nation now rests in the hands of a spy, a disgraced war hero and a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfalls present. Having being new to this universe and never read one of McClellan’s books before, I was instantly drawn in by his excellent use of action to drive the stories classic fantasy narrative. Story and action are woven together seamlessly and don’t distract from the story. The action starts at the perfect moment where you’ve built up enough care for the characters and really get behind them. I love it when an author gets it right like this, so many similar titles have included pointless fight scenes that pause you from the plot rather than drive it forward.
The descriptions of Fatrasta are both straightforward and excellent and indeed a testament to McClellan’s skills as a writer. You truly feel that you’re with the characters, every step of the way. More World of Warcraft than Lord of the Rings, but then it will still appeal to the classic fans of the genre that want to get lost in the details.
The next book will hold many answers, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Sins of Empire is published 9th March and available to pre-order from Amazon